Dead hotel boss left £25,000 to pet dog

Rob Shaw ran Culgruff House Hotel. Picture: Comp
Rob Shaw ran Culgruff House Hotel. Picture: Comp
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A HOTEL boss who was found dead just two days after writing his will left £25,000 to his beloved pet dog.

Rob Shaw’s body was discovered in the grounds of his Culgruff House Hotel after he had been reported missing and a search had been mounted.

The wealthy 52-year-old of Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, had written his will on December 11 last year, just 48 hours before he died.

It has now emerged he included a legacy for his treasured border collie, Spy, from the £1,545,059 estate.

Published legal documents reveal he asked for the money to be used to feed and house the pet who he described as his ‘best friend’.

He wrote: “To Spy Shaw, canine, Culgruff House, Crossmichael, the sum of £25,000” and further asked the dog be cared for by his friend Anna Austin of Dumfries.

Mr Shaw gifted a total of £250,000 of further legacies to various friends before asking the bulk of his wealth be given to his friend Norman Johnstone, of Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.

His will was not signed by any witnesses but had been signed and dated by him with a request it be ‘honoured and respected’.

He added: “I do not wish flowers or a service, I just want to leave quietly with no fuss.”

Mr Shaw, who was single and had no children, had worked in the IT industry for 30 years before buying and renovating the 18-room Culgruff House Hotel.

The popular venue closed after his death but visitors had praised Mr Shaw and his staff in online reviews.

Spy had also featured in guests’ praise with many telling how the friendly black and white pooch had accompanied them on walks in the hotel grounds.

One guest said: “After dinner we asked if we could watch a TV programme in the TV lounge. The owner told us we might have competition from the Border collie, Spy.

“We thought he was joking but found Spy avidly watching Pets do the Funniest Things. He looked crestfallen when we changed the channel.”

Another review said: “The bedrooms are spacious and comfortable. The evening meal and breakfast were very tasty and generous in portions. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

“The surprise for us was being taken for an after dinner stroll, around the grounds by their very friendly dog, Spy.”

Shortly after Mr Shaw’s death, Miss Austin told of her love for Spy, adding: “What a beautiful dog and what a wonderful gift for us. I will keep him safe, we love him.”

Mr Shaw was the chief executive of the Crichton Trust, a charity group who had unveiled a £200 million investment plan for Dumfries and Galloway weeks before his death.

The proposals included a new business park, university campus, and student accommodation.

His untimely death shocked acquaintances and business colleagues who paid tribute to him.

Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce said: “Rob was an inspirational man with drive and determination, a man who set out a vision for the future, a man who worked hard for the benefit of the community, a business man and a good friend.

“Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce, passes on our condolences to Rob’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

Mr Shaw went missing from his home sparking a search by police, volunteer and mountain rescue teams.

The Galloway Mountain Rescue Team and members of the Moffat Mountain Rescue team were also called in before the hunt was stood down.

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